Fact or Fiction: The Sliver of Science in Old Wives' Tales
Old wives’ tales are deeply rooted in oral tradition, but nowadays they are often regarded as fiction — arbitrary explanations for things we once knew little about. Before many of today’s medical breakthroughs, these myths were the gold standard of health care from the sensible (“an apple a day…”) to the downright ridiculous (swallowed gum will stick to your ribs). Whoever you are, many of these silly superstitions were probably a major part of your upbringing whether you followed them, or just passed them along. Let’s take a look at some old wives’ tales that have impacted our lives as we explore the nuggets of truth in these timeless traditions.
Did you ever hear “eating carrots will enhance your night vision”? Sigh. I believed in that one too. So fervently, in fact, that one cold night, I left nine carrots next to a plate of cookies for some weary chimney hoppers. The next morning, I found those same carrots stashed back in the vegetable crisper, and realized that even reindeer don’t believe in these fictitious claims.
Truthfully, this carrot myth was a major ploy fabricated by the British Royal Air Force during World War II to conceal their successful use of radar in localizing distant aircraft. By keeping the Nazis in the dark, the RAF could pick off Luftwaffe bombers before they could cross the English Channel. Fortunately for the British, this farce was believed by the increasingly carotenemic Nazis and allied lives were saved! It’s a good thing carrots don’t enhance foresight.Continue Reading...
Global Warming: Alot of Hot Air?
by Keith Freel
Imagine the year is 2050. Global warming has wreaked havoc on the earth and the human race has been greatly debilitated. Sea levels have risen to cover hundreds of thousands of miles of inhabited coastline, which has been constantly devastated by frezquent hurricanes and tropical storms. 70% of the remaining land is uninhabitable desert, due to endless droughts.
Global warming has been dubbed the “inconvenient truth” by both Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to spread global warming awareness. But forecasts of global warming are varied. Some blame global warming for problematic events of today (glaciers melting, dying species, etc.), while others claim there is no threat.
Even if society agrees that global warming is a problem, we still don’t know how much effect will be seen. Could a disaster like the 2050 scenario create a chaotic society in which individuals are left to fend for themselves? Could it be the end of humanity as we know it? Let’s ask the experts.